While Roberto Luongo's coach confirmed his goalie wants out of Vancouver, the GM of a team many thought he might wind up on has suggested he doesn't want him. Of course whether the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Yzerman means it is another thing.
Speaking on the Quebec TV show 'The Match', Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who signed a two-year contract extension this week and is now under contract for the next three, confirmed Luongo wants out. "This is what he wants now," Vigneault said about Luongo's request. "And we will act in the best interest of our organization, while watching what is best for Roberto."
After Vancouver was eliminated from the playoffs by the L.A. Kings in the first round, Luongo, 33, made it clear he'd waive his no-trade clause and take his long (10 years remaining) and expensive ($43 million remaining) contract and go. Cory Schneider, 26, had a breakout season and Bobby Lou could see the writing on the dressing-room wall. But Canucks GM Mike Gillis has not said he'll move Luongo and recently suggested there was even a chance he'd keep both goalies for next season.
Steve Yzerman: If not Luongo, who?
That may be posturing, however, which may also be what Yzerman was doing Wednesday when asked about his needs in goal. Speaking on the Florida radio station 620WDAE, Yzerman said he wasn't looking to trade for an older goalie and said he'd find his goalie "through the draft, through unrestricted free agency." He is prevented to talk about a player under contract to another team but said his goalie would be one in his "20's," which would rule out Luongo.
That makes it sound like he'd be interested in Schneider but he said that he doesn't have a goalie in his sights but did acknowledge that he needs one. His best this past season, Dwayne Roloson, 42 and a UFA in any case, had but 13 wins and a 3.66 GAA. Regardless of age, Tampa, with young stars like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Brett Connolly, and star veterans like Martin St. Louis, Eric Brewer and Vincent Lecavalier, could use a goalie that can help them contend now.
With Luongo, whose wife is from Florida, having asked for a trade it does seem a general manager like Yzerman would have the upper hand if he were interested. But then again, if there are enough GM's looking who could work it out cap-wise, the advantage goes to Gillis.